Pre-Settled and Settled Status in the UK
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EEA citizens are actively searching for information about their legal stay in the UK after the country leaves the European Union. This perplexity is often stipulated by the fact that people are not sure whether they can continue working as before, and what status will be assigned to them based on the period of their stay on the island.
Do you have a European Union country passport, thanks to which you have been residing and working in the UK with no hindrance, but don’t know what further steps to take to stay and live here, meeting all the immigration requirements?
According to the agreement between the EU member states, until December 31, 2020, Brexit will not have any consequences for those who are already in the UK or intend to arrive before this date.
You and your family members can apply for EU pre-settled or settled status in the UK. This will allow you to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021. The rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021.
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If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. You’ll receive either EU settled status or pre-settled status in the UK; it should be noted that applicants to UK settlement scheme will not be asked to choose which status they are applying for. The decision will be made by the Home Office, taking into account the period of residence in the UK and the documents provided.
If you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence, you won’t usually get EU settled status. However, if you meet all eligibility criteria, you will be assigned a EU pre-settled status instead. Any time before June 30, 2021, you will need to submit an application to the EU settlement scheme. You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get UK pre-settled status, but you must apply again and get UK settled status if you want to stay here for longer than that. You can apply to change your status as soon as you’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence. If you apply for the UK settlement scheme after April 2019, it will be free.
You can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your EU pre-settled status, but you will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify and apply for EU settled status.
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Who needs to apply for Settled and Pre-Settled status in the UK?
As the government states “if you want to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021 you’ll usually need to apply if you’re an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen”.
This includes if you either:
- were born in the UK but are not a British citizen
- are married to a British citizen and you’re from the EU
Note! You’ll not usually be eligible to apply if you’re married to a British citizen and you’re from outside the EU.
You do not need to apply for EU settlement scheme if you already have indefinite leave to remain or enter the UK.
Your family members from outside either the UK or Ireland will still need to apply to the EU settlement scheme even if you do not need to
Should one apply for UK settlement scheme if they’re from outside the EU
You must be in a relationship with an EU citizen as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner.
You can also be related to an EU citizen, their spouse or civil partner as their:
- child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old
- dependent child over the age of 21
- dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent
- dependent relative with a residence card to prove your relationship
What if I have a “UK permanent residence document”?
You will still need to apply for the UK settlement scheme.
You’ll be given either: EU settled status, EU pre-settled status
What are the rights under the EU Settlement Scheme?
The rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. If you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme successfully, you’ll be able to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021.
Any children born in the UK after you’ve got UK pre-settled status will be automatically eligible for UK pre-settled status. They will only be a British citizen if they qualify for it through their other parent.
What is Settled Status?
In brief, UK Settled status will be granted to EU nationals who completed 5 years of continuous residence in the UK by 30 June 2021.
When is the Settled Status deadline?
The closing date for applying to the EU settlement scheme is the 30th of June 2021 but this includes a grace period of half a year for individuals who forgot to send in their applications. Vulnerability is also given consideration in the EU settlement application, so those who are vulnerable are also allowed to take advantage of the grace period.
This means that every EU national in the UK should have submitted an EU settlement application, either for EU settled status or for pre-settled status, by this date.
Will the application for Settled Status be approved?
Your application for settled status will generally be approved if you’ve:
- started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (“continuous residence”)
Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you’ve been in the UK for at least 6 months in any 12 month period, except for:
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting)
- compulsory military service of any length
You will only need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme once if you get settled status in the UK.
What rights do I have after being granted Settled Status?
- stay in the UK for as long as you like
- apply for British citizenship, if you’re eligible
- work in the UK
- use the NHS
- enrol in education or continue studying
- access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
- travel in and out of the UK
With EU Settled Status in the UK, you will also be permitted to bring close family members to join you into the UK after 31 December 2020. You will be eligible to do this if the following two criteria apply:
- your relationship with them began before 31 December 2020
- you are still in the relationship when they apply to join you
If your relationship with them began after 31 December 2020, your family member will be able to come here on a family visa.
Any children born in the UK while you’re living here will automatically be British citizens.
You should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your EU settled status.
What is Pre-Settled Status?
If you have not completed 5 years of continuous residence in the UK before the deadline (30 June 2021), you will not be eligible to apply for settled status in the UK before the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme. However, if you meet all the eligibility criteria, you’ll get pre-settled status in the UK if you apply any time before 30 June 2021.
You will be able to then change your EU pre-settled status to settled status as soon as you have completed 5 years’ continuous residence. Currently, the Home Office has informed that changing from pre-settled status to settled status will be free.
A person who is given Pre-Settled Status can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing pre-settled status. However, it should be noted that in order to qualify for Settled Status, you will need to maintain your continuous residence.
You can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you get pre-settled status, but you must apply again for settled status in the UK if you want to stay here for longer than that.
What rights do I have after my Pre-Settled Status application was approved?
After your pre-settled status application was successful, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your pre-settled status. You will however need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.
work in the UK
use the NHS
enrol in education or continue studying
access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you’re eligible for them
travel in and out of the UK
With regards to children, any child born in the UK after you’ve obtained Pre-Settled Status will be automatically eligible for Pre-Settled Status. They will only be a British citizen if they qualify for it through their other parent.
You may notice that one of the key differences between having EU Settled Status and Pre-Settled Status is the eligibility for British citizenship.
How to convert pre-settled status to settled status?
You can submit an EU settlement application to change your status from EU pre-settled status to EU settled status as soon as you’ve got 5 years’ continuous residence.
Can I bring my Family Members?
The EU Settlement Scheme stipulates that family members must not be from the European Union; they can come from any location around the world, in such cases, they are called non-EU citizen family members.
Family members of Qualified European Union nationals
Non-EU family members who are already resident in Britain by December 31, 2020 will be qualified to submit applications for the EU Settlement Scheme. If you have close family members who are not resident in Britain by December 31, 2020, they will be eligible to join you anytime in the future, provided the relationship still exists. The rights of children either born or adopted after December 31, 2020 will be protected.
Can I claim benefits if granted a status under the EUSS?
Individuals from the European Union or EEA (European Economic Area) who are residents in the UK might be able to claim some benefits. The EEA covers all European Union countries and others like Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. People from Switzerland might be included in the benefits.
However, there is the need to prove certain facts about your life in the UK for every benefit you need to apply for;
- You should prove that you have the right to claim benefits in Britain – this is referred to as “right to reside”
- That Britain, Channel Islands, Ireland or the Isle of Man is your main home and you have plans to stay – this is referred to as being ‘habitually resident’
- You will need to meet the necessary criteria for the benefits you wish to claim – in explanation, your income is less than a certain amount or you are sick.
Individuals who have lived for more than five years in the United Kingdom and has put in their applications for settled status or those who have been granted settled status can submit application for benefits. In this case, there won’t be need for evidence of right to reside.
Your right to reside can only be used to claim benefits till December 31, 2020, after which it becomes compulsory to have settled status or your benefits stop.
Individuals are not required to pass the habitual residence test in order to claim:
- Child benefit
- Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Contribution-based Support and Employment Allowance
How to apply for an EEA Family Permit?
If you happen to be a citizen of the EEA (European Economic Area) resident in the UK who have family members that not citizens of the EEA, there is a way that they can join you through EEA Family Permits. This particular immigration category stipulates that individuals who have been granted EEA Family Permit will be able to enter the UK, live as well as hold down paid employments there on the basis that they are dependants of a European Economic Area citizen.
Who can apply for EEA Family Permits?
Eligibility for this kind of permit covers quite a few numbers of people, it is tailor-made for non-EEA citizens who are:
- A civil partner or spouse of an EEA or Swiss citizen
- A descendant of an EEA citizen like a child or grandchild or civil partner/spouse who is currently below 21 years of age.
- Child or grandchild who is a dependant descendant of a European Economic Area citizen or their civil partner/spouse whose ages are from 21 years and above
- Dependant relative in ascending line – This means parents or grandparents of a European Economic Area citizen or Swiss citizen or his civil partner/spouse.
What are the requirements for the EEA Family Permit?
Individuals who wish to submit their applications for EEA Family Permit needs to satisfy some few requirements which are:
- The EEA citizen partner needs to be exercising his Treaty rights in the United Kingdom, in explanation; this means that the partner must be someone who is studying, doing some sort of business (self-employed) or holding down paid employment
- Two conditions exist for the EEA citizen and their non-EEA family member – it is either that they are legally bound to each other in marriage (this means married Couples) or otherwise, they should be able to provide proof of cohabiting within the most recent couple of years (this means unmarried couples)
- The EEA citizen and their non-EEA family member must have already met
- The EEA citizen and their non-EEA family member must demonstrate their intentions to continue living together as a couple.
- Both the EEA citizen and their non- EEA family member must be moving to the United Kingdom together, otherwise, the EEA citizen should already be a resident of the United Kingdom, and then have his or her partner come over.
- The family unit must never depend on the UK public fund throughout the duration of their stay in Britain.
Can Unmarried Partners apply for EEA Family Permits?
If you happen to be an unmarried partner of an EEA citizen, you can be given considerations for a family permit as a member of the extended family, provided both of you have proved that your relationship is a durable one, and you will still be able to satisfy the same criteria as those who are in place for unmarried partner visa. What this means, in essence, is that both the EEA citizen and his or her partner have been cohabiting in a relationship very similar to civil partnership or marriage and their union must have endured for a couple of years in the least.
What are the Work Restrictions for EEA Family Permits?
In a situation where the European Economic Area citizen is a qualified person in the United Kingdom, their family members who are non-EEA nationals will be entitled to get paid employment when they join them in the UK. Besides, no restrictions of any kind will be imposed on them.
How Long is an EEA Family Permit valid for?
EEA-national partner will have their EEA Family Permit issued for a period of six months. However, before the expiration of the six-months period, it is expected of the individual to submit applications for a Resident Permit.
On the other hand, non-EEA family member seeking to get EEA Family Permit will have it issued for five-year-period, but before the expiration of your five-year-period, it is expected of the non-EEA family member to submit applications for an ILR or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom. Note, an ILR can also be referred to as Permanent Residence.
Indefinite Leave to Remain vs. EEA Family Permit
Individuals who already have an EEA Family Permit (This includes all family members as well as the EU national) become eligible to submit applications for Indefinite Leave to remain after residing in the UK for a period of five years. The only condition is to make sure that you obtain all the required permissions in the meantime.
EEA Nationals vs. Permanent Residence
European Economic Area citizens who wish to submit applications for British Naturalization can do so but first, they need to apply for a document which will confirm that they are completely free from any kind of Immigration restrictions, and when they are ready to submit applications for the British Naturalization proper, the document must be presented to the authorities as part of their application package.
When submitting applications for British Naturalization, citizens of the European Economic Area who have already been granted their Permanent Residence status under the 2006 EEA regulations with the conditions of having resided in the United Kingdom continuously for a period of five years, will in addition have the need to prove that they have also completed another 12-month period of residence in the United Kingdom. Important to note that this period can only be considered if it is completely free from immigration time restrictions of any kind.
Settled Status vs. Permanent Residency
If you have a valid permanent residence document in the United Kingdom, it will be one of the following:
- a certificate in your blue “residence documentation” brochure.
- a certificate in your passport
- a biometric residence card that confirms permanent residence (only if you are from outside the EU)
- If you are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, your permanent residence document will read “Document certifying permanent residence”. If you are from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, your passport will say “State of permanent residence”.
You can change your permanent residence document to the settlement status by applying to the EU Settlement Plan. You will not have to pay or show that you have 5 years of continuous residence.
Settled status vs. British citizenship
UK citizenship is never the same thing as settled status. Settled status will not grant you a UK passport or British citizenship. In fact, settled status is meant to grant fewer rights than UK citizenship but it is a whole lot easier to process.
For example, European Union nationals who are resident in the UK will not be required to show evidence of their knowledge of language and life in Britain to be able to get settled status.
If you are an EU citizen living in Britain and you have been able to gain settled status, you will be qualified to submit application for full British citizenship after one year. Besides, settled status is also not the same with residence permit for EU citizens in UK, you have your UK residence card when you gain a resident permit.
Can I lose settled status if I leave the UK?
Yes, the possibility to lose your settled status right is a stark reality. European Union nationals who have settled status will lose it as well as their right for continued stay in the UK if they are absence from Britain for over five years
Can I lose pre-settled status if I leave the UK?
Permanent right to stay cannot come from pre-settled status and to keep it maintained, citizens of the EU must keep up continuous residence in Britain. From 2021, any EU national who comes to join a person who already has settled status must continue with the relationship (like marriage) for up to five years in order to be able to qualify for his or her own settled status.
Can I go on holiday with Settled Status?
Yes, it is possible, keeping ‘continuous residence’ for the initial five years does not mean that you cannot leave the country at all, it only means not going out of the UK for over six months within one year.
Can I still access the NHS after Brexit?
According to the Home Office, individuals who are granted the status will still enjoy the same access as they presently do which means pensions, healthcare and any other benefits. This may sound broad but it will not be same as the rights enjoyed by UK nationals. Also, it is not fully confirmed whether the process will involve a fee or not – this will be confirmed later.
How criminal convictions affect pre-settled and settled status for EU citizens?
According to Sajid Javid – the present Home Secretary, in the case of minor offenses the approach that will be eventually taken is going to be sensible, so the likely answer to the question is in the negative. At least, no one needs to face such a situation. The Home office document tagged it a sensible approach, explaining that they are not interested in minor offenses or misdemeanors like when people are charged with a parking fine. It is only when an individual has faced convictions for serious offenses like felony that his or her application will be considered for rejection.
Do I need to have an ‘ID card’?
An identity card is not a necessity in this case, so the answer is no. European Union citizens are going to receive proof of settled status and this will come in digital form – Physical documents will not be issued in this regard.
What happens if my EU settlement application is rejected?
If a refused application is a valid one, such an individual will have to exercise his right to call for an administrative review.
Besides, applicants who have faced refusals under this scheme are free to submit new application forms at any time but this should not exceed the last day in June 2021. Applications can be submitted as many times as possible from a single individual as long as it does not exceed the stipulated date.
To cap it all, UK government is in the process of hatching a plan that will introduce a system which gives legal right of appeal to any application that will come in from March next year.
How do I check my settled status?
Once you have received an official decision letter, you will be able to view your settled status online by doing an EU settled status check which can be found on the GOV.UK website. People who are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, will only be able to see their pre-settled or settled status online and will not receive a card.
What is the EU Settlement scheme processing time?
If you send in a complete application, the usual processing time for the EU settlement scheme is around five working days. However, if some information is missing, you will be asked to provide it, and then the application can take more than a month to be processed and completed.
How long does it take to get settled status?
EU settled status processing time can vary. Those applying for settled status need to prove that they have had five years of continuous residence in the UK. Applications can be very straightforward, sometimes taking only hours to process. For example, if applicants have worked, or claimed benefits, for five consecutive years, then the system will check existing government databases using the applicants National Insurance number for evidence of this.
How long does it take to get pre-settled status?
Applicants who have been resident in the UK for less than five consecutive years will need to apply for pre-settled status. If applicants have worked, or claimed benefits, the system will use this information as proof of residence, and the application should take five working days or less. However, when the applicant has to supply additional documents to prove that they are resident in the UK, then the process can take a month or more.
What does settlement mean?
The EU settlement scheme is a new programme designed by the British Government to protect the rights of European Union citizens who are currently living in the UK. EU citizens will have to apply for either permanent settlement, if they have been living in the UK for more than five consecutive years, or pre-settlement if they have lived in the UK for less than five years. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.
Do Irish citizens need to apply for settled status?
Nothing changes for Irish citizens under Brexit. They do not have to apply for settled status, but they may do so if they wish.
How to apply for settled status for a child?
If you’re from the EU, European Economic Area EEA or Switzerland, and living in the UK, all members of your family, including children, should apply to stay in the UK after Brexit. If your children are not currently in the UK, they need to be in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible to apply. You can apply on their behalf, or they may apply for themselves. You can make the application online.
How to add child to settled status?
If you already have a settled status or a pending application to the EU Settlement Scheme, you can link an additional application for your child using the same application number that is on your application.
How to prove 5-year residency UK
If you have a National Insurance Number, and have worked or claimed benefit in the UK for five consecutive years, the system will automatically pick up this detail from your government records, and you will not need to submit any further proof. If there have been gaps where you did not work, you may have to provide documents such as council tax bills, mortgage statements or bank accounts.
What documents do I need for UK settled status?
You will need to provide several different documents as part of your application. There is a comprehensive list of what you will need on GOV.UK so that you can get them ready, or make arrangements to acquire them. Most of them are straightforward documents that you will already have. Here is a basic list:
• A document to prove your identity. This could be a biometric residence card your passport, or national identity card.
• A digital photo of yourself. You can take a selfie and upload it during the online application process
• your National Insurance number if you have one
• Proof of your residence in the UK if you do not have an NI number. This could be a municipal bill, a council tax bill, a rental agreement, a bank statement or a letter from your employer.
• a mobile phone number
• an email address
• If you are applying for a child, you will also need proof of your relationship, such as the child’s birth certificate.